After a lonnng month or so of being too sick to write anything, I’m really thankful to be back on the blog. Especially because today I get to share my favorite part of my story or thorns…the part where the light meets the dark…
It didn’t take long until reading the Bible began to change, and save, my life. The words I read each night locked away in my bathroom became almost like food and water to me. They literally kept me going when each day tempted me to turn to suicide for escape. I didn’t understand everything that I was reading in the Bible, and I didn’t necessarily like everything either, but there was something about it that kept me coming back for more. I couldn’t explain it, not even to myself, but it was just…different. It was powerful, convicting, and somehow a balm for my abused and tattered soul, all at once. It was unlike any book that I had ever read.
Verse after verse began to peel apart the hard layers that I had built up inside of me in order to protect myself. Chapter after chapter began to expose the depths of my heart. It showed me my hate, bitterness, and unforgiveness, and it showed me just how broken I was. It showed me the consuming fear that plagued me, and it showed me my loneliness and how desperately I longed to be loved and valued just for who I was. But most of all it began to show me who Jesus was. For my whole life I thought that Jesus was a lot like the woman who was abusing me. After all, she claimed to know Him so well that I assumed they must be like each other. But finally I began to learn that I was wrong. Jesus wasn’t like my abuser. He was different. He was good.
So there I was…a little 12-year-old crying out to God with my whole heart. And despite my hate, despite my sins, despite my life of abuse, He met me where I was and slowly but surely led me to Himself. It was a long, difficult journey that lasted nearly 3 years, but God never gave up on me no matter how many times throughout those years I failed. He had begun a change in my heart, and every night when I locked myself in the bathroom to read the Bible and pray, He continued to change me more and more.
There are many important things that happened on my journey to salvation, such as learning to forgive and to give my fears to God. But the main thing that happened was that God finally brought me to the place where I was able to see and understand His love for what it really was, instead of seeing and understanding His love through the confused, broken eyes of a child who was taught that love and abuse came together. And it was that love–the real, true love of a Savior–that finally overcame all of the darkness inside of me and changed my life, changed me, forever.
I remember that I was barely 15 when this heart change took place… It was like love and joy exploded inside of me and I couldn’t contain it. So I didn’t try to. For the first time in my life I really understood that Jesus loved me. He loved me!
And all I wanted was for everyone to know that love.
I had learned through all those bathroom Bible readings that the Bible taught over and over that the most important commandment in all of Scripture was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself,” so that was the way I wanted to live. Loving God and loving people became the most important thing to me, and I did all I could to live true to that love…Even to the woman who abused me.
And God gave me a heart for my abuser that I couldn’t possibly have had on my own. Never again in my life did I feel even a drop of hatred towards her. I wasn’t even tempted to. And I know without a doubt that a love that transformed could only come from God. His love taught me how to love, and there was no going back.
[continued in part 4…]